I am back from my trip, and pleased to report that while my progress slowed (only a 1.6 pound loss in two weeks) it did not stall or reverse. I enjoyed myself and indulged in 3 very large-for-me meals, two desserts, one martini, a half glass of wine, and a large sake. (Not all on the same day!). I sat most of the day during the conference, but the food choices on the buffet line allowed me to choose just protein and veggies. In Austin, it was restaurants and home-cooked meals, most of which were high calorie, but I walked a ton (23 miles!) and I used the stationary bike at the hotel. This trip let me see what maintenance might be like: being careful with food most of the time, exercising often, and able to have an occasional drink or dessert.
I bought some new jeans a month or so ago, and they are already too baggy to wear. I know that can be a fashion statement for some teen-aged boys, but for a 69 year old woman, not so much. I think I will stick to pants with drawstrings until I get to my stopping weight. At least someone will get some barely worn clothes when I donate them.
A real win was not having to ask for a seatbelt extender on the plane. I see the knee surgeon in two weeks and hopefully will be scheduled for surgery. I understand there is a wait of a few months so I want to get into the queue at least.
The conference was amazing, my presentation went well, and I made some new friends. The theme was GLBTQ history within Unitarian Universalism and included many stories from the early days after Stonewall. Some of the stories brought me to tears. I joined my home church in the mid-90’s, so I mainly experienced acceptance and a warm welcome. Unitarian Universalism struggled with the issue of gay clergy back in the 70’s and although both homophobia and heterosexism are still deeply embedded in the wider culture, gay and lesbian clergy now have little trouble being called to serve our congregations all around the country. Transgender ministers still face some challenges, but we are working on that too, through education.
My heart just breaks for what happened in the Methodist Church this week. The God I believe in is one of an all-embracing love. Love, in all of its dimensions and in all of its forms, is a sacred gift, a “reflection of grace,” and of God’s love for all of creation.
(My stats for the last week – down 1.6 pounds, drank maybe 5 gallons of water and I exercised for over 420 minutes. My cumulative weight loss so far is 89 pounds.)
I just returned from Texas where we attended the UURMaPA (Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners) conference and spent a few extra days in Austin visiting the family of one of Anne’s Sicilian cousins.
What a trip it was! It was only a week, but it was also a lifetime. At the conference I told my life story, my odyssey, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. Like everyone, I have seen some hard times. It was emotional and difficult to speak of some of them. The response from my colleagues in ministry and their partners was truly heartwarming. The conference theme was on Unitarian Universalism’s history on GLBTQ issues. And although we have been much more progressive on those issues than any other faith tradition that I know of, there was still a lot of pain expressed by ministers who came out in the early days. I loved the conference, and there were times I cried. Tears are good though.
After the conference, we went to Austin to visit family that we had never met in person. Frankly, we were a little nervous about meeting them. They are religious Christians who attend a large Protestant church. Would they embrace us for who we are, or simply tolerate us in “love the sinner, hate the sin” mode? We were very moved by the warm welcome we received from them. We also learned that one of the teenagers is president of the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at her school. How awesome is that? It reminded me of our visit to Sicily where we were also nervous, and then we discovered that one of the young adult cousins was “Mr. Gay Europe” and that the family embraced him whole-heartedly. Damn, I love our Italian family, and I am thrilled to now know the ones who live in Texas. This warm and embracing family is yet another gift I have received from my marriage to Anne.
I tried to stay on-track with my weight loss program while I was gone, but it was hard. I definitely drank less water. The conference food had lots of good choices, but exercising was pretty much out as the programming started early and went into the evening. Austin was a home-made Italian pasta dinner and a similar lunch, complete with impossible-to-resist pastry desserts. They also took us out for an awesome steak fajitas lunch. I skipped the rice and beans, but likely overate on the rest. The meat was so tender and flavorful! The hotel had an exercise room, though, and we walked a lot touring around. We will see what the scale shows this week, but my funky home scale doesn’t have a particularly frightening number on it. It is all OK. Everything is just grand in fact. It is also good to be home.
I can get so dependent on technology. My FitBit wasn’t syncing to my phone or to my computer one day this week and it really stressed me. What’s the point of exercising if I don’t get “credit,” if the goal doesn’t turn green on my screens? Luckily, I figured out how to fix it by searching help forums -basically I needed to turn my phone off and back on. This technology stuff can be frustrating, but I do love it when it works. I also adjusted my calorie goals this as I had set them a little too low. Even though I ate a bit more this last week, I still lost almost 3 pounds, which is maybe a little too much. I may have to get even more calories in so I can keep my loss rate healthy. Eating enough is as important as not eating too much. It is all about balance and health.
Last night we talked about body image which was very moving. Our culture is so horrible that it can make us hate our bodies, particularly if we are young and female and don’t fit the “ideal” body type. I sang the group this song. “How Could Anyone” (Song here)
They did not seem to mind my less than stellar singing voice, but they got the message. We are all beautiful. I also told them that I loved them when I met them, and that I don’t love them more now because they are thinner.
Maybe it is because I gained most of my weight after my 40’s, or maybe because I am a lesbian in a very long term relationship, but I never really hated my “fat” body or was particularly ashamed of it. It was just who I was, someone with an “Earth Mother Goddess” body. If it wasn’t for the health issues, I would not have considered altering my body in any way. I am also having some trouble adjusting to the thinner me. It is a little weird, and I feel somewhat less substantial, that it is just a little harder to “claim my space” in a crowd. I will get used to it, and I am definitely appreciating the health benefits I have achieved through the weight loss.
Next week I am going to a conference for retired UU ministers and their partners. It should be good, although I have a presentation to do so I am a bit nervous about that. Ministers can be an intimidating audience. And most retired ministers tend to have a lot more experience than I do, as I entered the ministry fairly late in life. Once I get going, I know it will be fine; it always is. The Spirit hasn’t let me down yet, so no worries.
The conference food is likely to be buffet style, so as long as there is protein and veggies I should be fine. Finding time to exercise might be harder, as schedules tend to be packed. I am also a bit nervous about the 4 extra days we are staying, as restaurant meals will be involved, and those can be harder to figure out. But since I have been doing so well, it will actually be fine if I gain a bit that week. So no stress! Or at least not too much.
My life is getting better and I realize that is always how it has been for me. The presentation I will give at the conference next week is on my life’s journey, my odyssey. I wrote a poem about it this morning and will likely start my talk with it. (the poem is here)
And, special for Valentines Day, the words I spoke to Anne at our legal wedding in July of 2013, (here)
(My stats for the last week – down 2.9 pounds, drank over 7 gallons of water and exercised for over 540 minutes. My cumulative weight loss so far is 87.4 pounds.)
Homer said that Odysseus
Angered a God
Which is why
His journey was so long
He started as a prince
A wealthy man
But had trouble going home.
I think that’s right
I never read the poem.
Maybe it’s hard to start so high
That falling is a surprise.
I wouldn’t know.
That’s not my story.
I began in chaos,
My journey a hope-filled climb
As ever brighter vistas
Granted blessings on my way.
Sure, there have been dips and valleys
Times I’ve tripped and fallen.
But the trail keeps going higher
Where the sun has dared to shine.
Courage my companion
As love has been my guide.
On this stairway into heaven
A heaven here and now.
Maybe later too.
This has been enough.
My sweat bands! They came and they work super great. Plus I had (most) of my hair cut off so it is easier to dry after a shower or the hot tub. Once the weather warms up and I can start swimming again very short hair will be awesome as well.
I did OK on my exercise last week, not as good as the week before as one day I was just tired and took a break without getting my cardio hour in. Still, with the sweat bands, I am now officially a jock.
Last night we talked about goal weights. The ideal weight charts do much more harm than good. What matters is our health, how we feel, how much energy we have, and whether we are reducing our risks for heart disease and diabetes. I spoke about how I had changed my goal weight on my fitness apps, because the generated one was way too depressing. As I calculate my calories in and calories out, I am looking for a deficit of 1000 so that I can continue to lose some weight while not losing my muscles. Once I can get off a few more medications, it may be time to go for simple maintenance. But it would be pointless to go to all this work and then go backward, sacrificing all the health benefit I have gained. It is the reality that I will always have to pay attention to what I am putting into this body of mine.
My knees are still a mess and I am getting another cortisone shot today to help with the pain. I will also see if I can now get on the list for knee surgery. Once that happens, I may even be able to go hiking again! That will feel like (another) miracle.
(My stats for the last week – down 1.8 pounds, drank over 7 gallons of water and exercised for over 575 minutes. My cumulative weight loss so far is 84.5 pounds.)